Anthony Fauci recommends against handshaking ever again. He’s got a good point. Handshakes aren’t that much different from coughing into someone’s mouth in terms of germ transmission. As part of our ongoing coverage of COVID-19’s effect on the events industry, this week we offer you a handful of substitute no-contact greetings for events this summer.
First, some background – The handshake is a time traveler, believed to have originated in Greece around 500 B.C. (it’s painted on a bunch of urns and stuff). These were simpler times when people were mostly concerned with keeping track of a lot of gods and when to wear dressy togas. Anthony Fauci was but a middle-aged man warning everyone at the forum about leprosy transmission AKA the Roman Flu. In ancient Greece, the handshake was gesture of peace between strangers. It allowed both parties to demonstrate they were not holding a weapon. This is of course, extremely cool.
But I mean come on – it’s been 2500 years and we haven’t updated it? Handshakes actually came around before Hippocrates, father of the field of medicine, was even born. They’re pre-medicine. It’s time for handshakes to go the way of other things of the era like armless statues, Zeus, and functional democracy. We need handshake 2.0.
I don’t think any of you understand just what a huge moment this is. We have an opportunity here to create a long-lasting legacy. Inventing a new ‘handshake’ will outlive pretty much everything else we do in our lifetimes no matter how big. This is the time for innovation, to establish something greater than us that generations to come will be forced to comply with out of tradition and the pressures of social convention. Whatever we standardize now will in theory be the accepted form of greeting until at least 4520 A.D.
This is why we at Decibel Labs have been hard at work, tirelessly experimenting in my parents’ suburban basement for the better part of a weekday morning. We present, nay gift to you, peoples of the present and future, our top candidates for handshake 2.0.
Double Foot Tap
Beginning with your left foot, raise your foot and tap the inside of your foot with the inside of your partners. Then repeat the motion with your right foot. Consider incorporating a festive hacky sack to make a good impression.
Elbowing AKA Pencing
This example truly needs no demonstration from us because it would be difficult to improve upon the master:
Raise your elbow, touch it to your partners, then hold briefly while assuming a beleaguered expression like Mike Pence at a COVID-19 press conference when he hears someone say “PPE.”
Enthusiastic Double Hand-Wave (Handkerchief Optional)
Take cues from every silent film clip you’ve ever seen of a passenger ship departing from a harbor. Wave wildly and without care like this is the greatest part of your day. Incorporate a festive handkerchief into your wave for a bit of variety. If you are Deborah Birx, just go ahead and use one of your many stylish scarves.
Nothing says “I’m fun” like finger guns. It’s like closing an email with the word “cheers.” In a more formal setting, consider making “pew pew” sound effects to round out this modern handshake alternative.
Bow with Hand Flourish
We in the west seem to have lost the art of bowing, but it’s time to bring it back. This is the double/full Windsor knot of greetings in the sense that it can communicate to an entire room how important you think you are without the need to say anything. It’s ostentatious in the best way! Observe:
It should be low enough that you risk dislodging your monocle. For additional flair consider a wearing a dinner jacket with coattails, or a droopy Victorian mustache.
Voguing, the unique 1980’s dance style made well-known by Madonna, in which one moves fluidly and gracefully between poses that resemble actor headshots from the golden age of cinema. It really holds up. Strike a pose!
If you’d like to add a bit of flair, whisper-yell the word “vogue” while holding your final pose.
The ‘Plan 9’ Salute
The “Gone with the Wind” of poorly executed, plotted, and acted movies offers us this gem. Draw your arms up with your hands open and cross them on your chest. Your fingertips should come to rest roughly on your clavicles. This is one quick, swift motion. It communicates fealty but self-assuredness.
The “Little Rascal”
This one is pretty straightforward. Bring your right hand up under your chin and waggle your fingers coquettishly.
The Vulcan Salute
Star Trek. I am apparently physically incapable of doing this. I’m gifted in other ways.
The Adam West “Batusi”
The infamous batman dance, reprised by John Travolta in the dance contest scene of Pulp Fiction. If you’re introducing a companion, perform the Batusi first, then begin introductions by referring to them as Robin, my young ward, or “old chum.”
Seeing as the U.S. government has already slipped the existence of Marvel’s high-tech African nation of Wakanda to the public (we’re trade partners!) , it stands to reason that our new no-contact greeting should serve a greater diplomatic purpose. We recommend performing this greeting in a full-body cat suit.
Do you have an alternative greeting that’s better than our suggestions? We doubt it, but if you do the best way to make an impact on the now open field of no-contact greetings is to get an event started. Make your mark on history and get in touch with us today.
Click on the Handshake 2.0 to get the animate gif.